My Favorite Things – Mom Edition

All The Gear Things 

1. Table For Two  – The Table for Two is an absolute must have for twins. It allows you to bottle feed and spoon feed two babies at once, the twins napped in it all the time, and it’s transportable to grandma’s house. It’s one of the best places for me to manage both babies at the same time when I am alone.

2. Boppy Pillow –  I bought all the fancy twin pillows, and bolsters, and positioners and honestly the traditional Boppy was easier for me to use when breastfeeding, doing tummy time, and now assisting them in siting upright when they are playing.

3. The Dock A TotThe Dock A Tot was truly a lifesaver for me when I was traveling with the girls, sitting by the pool, or trying to get some sleep in those early days. I honestly don’t know how I could have lived without it, and with twins it the ideal tool extra set of hands when you just need to lay a baby down in the middle of the night between feeding each one, or when you are feeding them in bed in the middle of the night and you are afraid of falling asleep (I knew if I dozed off in bed with them they were safe and protected) when I co-slept. Almost every mom I know ends up co-sleeping at some point (be it a late night feeding or a sick baby) and this is a wonderful way to be able to do that without any SIDS concerns. One of my twins loved the Dock A Tot so much we slept her in it every night and she was sleeping 12 hours uninterrupted. Once she started moving at 6 months, it was too unsafe to allow her to sleep inside of it in her crib anymore and so we had to wean her from it which has been a bit of a challenge as she still does not sleep nearly as well in a crib as she did in the Dock A Tot. The twin that we transitioned Once she turns 9 months old she will be able to sleep in the Grand version, but not inside of a crib which does create a bit of a challenge in terms of overnight sleep if your not cosleeping regularly .

4. Rock N Play Sleeper – My babies had (and still) absolutely awful reflux and these tilted beds were the only way I could allow them to sleep after feedings without them throwing up. They were essentially the only thing I used for the first 8 weeks around the clock and we moved them from room to room.

5. Delta Mini Cribs – In our downstairs playroom, it was very helpful for us to have mini cribs once the girls got too big to use the Rock N Plays in order for them to nap. The mini cribs were essentially what we used as bassinet’s and they were so affordable and the babies were able to use them much longer than all the bassinet’s we were gifted with. They are also the perfect size to sit the Table For Two inside to keep them elevated for feedings.

6. Play Mat’s – These things are a must for all moms. We loved the Infantino play mat.  They keep the babies entertained for hours and you can exchange the toys and add more toys once they get bored with somethings. They roll and transport for travel beautifully and I don’t know what I would have done without this thing.

7. Little Giraffe Blankets – For all winter babies there is no better blanket on the market. They are the softest thing in the entire world and they wash beautifully and keep the babies so warm.

8. Sleepers with Mittens and Baby Hats – Again if you have a winter newborn, keeping them warm is key, and I found that we used more of those little baby hats and sleepers with mittens than I thought I would.

9. Wub A Nub Pacifiers – Both babies took these as newborns and one of them still takes it at 7 months. They use them as soothies, they are so easy to find, they go absolutely everywhere with us, and we own a gazillion of them.

10. Baby Bjorn Bouncer – This is a wonderfully versatile piece of gear because it folds down completely flat and it is so easy to transport. Because we bought the mesh one it is perfect to put inside of a shallow pool in the summer and they can get their tushies and feet wet without totally submersing the babies. All of the other bouncers we have paled in comparison to this one.

11. Carseats – The Rachel Zoe Maxi Cosi Carseats were probably my biggest splurge of all of my baby gear and they are so “fancy” but I absolutely LOVED LOVED LOVED them. They were perfect for the babies when they were just little preemies and the leather handles were so much easier to handle than a lot of the hard plastic ones. They worked (in my opinion) better with the Uppababy stroller than the intended carseats as it set them higher and they were so easy to move in and out of the car. But more than all of this they were absolutely BEAUTIFUL to look at, and since your baby car seat is more or less the only accessory you will have attached to you around the clock, I loved how chic they are – we got more compliments on those car seats than anything else I have ever owned. When the babies were born and we were absolutely germ freaks – I loved using the Milksnob nursing covers over the carseats. They allowed me to go into public with the babies completely covered, while allowing air ventilation through the hole in the top and easy access to their faces by simply pulling them down. The material is breathable which is so important when covering babies in a carseat, and anytime I would breastfeed, I would just pop that baby off and use it as a breastfeeding cover and it was by far the easiest and gave the most coverage of all the other nursing covers I had tried. Once we graduated to the Maxi Cosi Pria 85 Carseats which we are equally obsessed with (we didn’t do the Rachel Zoe one’s because I didn’t like the idea of leather on the inside of the seat). Our babies nap in the car quite regularly (lets be honest its the only way to get out of the house) and these carseats recline and support them so beautifully that in some ways I swear it’s the best sleep they get. When you see them in the seats it is like they are literally sitting in a cloud, and they are very easy to install and get the babies in and out of.

12. Sleepsacks – I tried them all and honestly the HALO sleep sack has been the only one that has worked for us, both as a swaddle and now as a regular sleep sack. We use these every single night and I think it has become a ritual for the babies that helps them with their sleep routine. Recently we’ve tried the Nested Bean sleep sacks which the babies seem to enjoy as well, and do provide comfort of mothers touch and help with nap time sleep.

13. Bathtime – For newborns, no tub compares to the First Years True ComfortWe tried virtually every bathtub on the market, and this tub is the easiest, most simple, and not to mention affordable. Once the babies are sitting up we started using the Keter Baby Bath Seats (which do have some safety concerns when researched and need to be very carefully monitored) but for us, they make it so easy to bathe two babies at the same time and our girls absolutely love them. We also tried almost every single baby soap on the market and I fell in love with the Live Clean Baby Shampoo and Wash. Its all natural and virtually all botanical and free from all the scary chemicals you don’t want for your baby. We also absolutely love our Pottery Barn Hooded Baby Towels. They are so soft and durable and we have used them every night with our wee ones.

14. Strollers – In terms of a double stroller for twins, the Uppababy Vista was an absolute life saver for us. It it so versatile that you can add one or two bassinets, one or two infant carseats, and then once the babies are old enough the seats allow for multiple configurations that work both rear facing and forward facing. The shades on the seats have an extra extension that is critical with young babies in the sun and the seats recline to almost completely flat when babies are napping. Almost every car seat has extensions and conversion kits available (Our Maxi Cosi carseats worked wonderfully with this stroller) and the stroller is light and compact for travel and fits wonderfully in the travel bag. Because we loved our Rachel Zoe Maxi Cosi carseats so much we also sprung for the Rachel Zoe Quinny Mod as our second single stroller for when we needed two strollers in two different places and this stroller is absolute luxury. It is so beautiful and the girls love the positioning of the seat as they can sit completely upright and the attached bar allows for them to have wonderful support even when they are not completely steady sitting upright. The biggest perk of this stroller is its ease of navigation and ability to fold to such a compact space. The two downfall’s of this stroller is the way it locks down (it has to be strapped down instead of just locking on it’s own) and the sunshade is not quite big enough to give full coverage to the babies. When it comes to a jogging stroller, we went with the tried and true BOB Flex Double Stroller. The best things about the BOB are it’s industrial strength (the thing is a BOSS) and it’s 100% sunshade coverage. You can take that thing on any terrain with ease and you can just put it on a plane without the need for any bag or carrying case (like I said the thing is like made of steel) – the downfall is that it is heavy, bulky, and takes up a great deal of space for transport. The recline positioning of the stroller seats are on a strap and side release buckle system which I find annoying to get up and down, but it does allow for you to lean the seats upright or flat in any position you prefer.

15. Carriers – It’s interesting because one of my babies absolutely LOVES being in a carrier and one of my babies will only allow it every now and again. For the one who loves being carried we have tried them all – and we have found that they all work best at different times and they grow and according to what kind of mood or developmental stage they are in. Without a doubt, the Tula Baby Carrier (we bought the Bliss Bouquet pattern) has worked the best for us from the time they were preemies until today. The infant insert allowed me to carry the baby comfortably when they were still so small, and the carrier still works lovely on my 22 lb baby. When we were going through weeks where the babies were very fussy, sometimes it was the only way I could get them to sleep attached to my body. The tula is extremely lightweight while still giving support to my very fragile body (Diastasis Recii has left me in shambles) and supporting the babies bodies in very natural positions. We used a sling carrier on my hip when the babies were still trying to navigate how to get comfortable on my hip, but I have found it so difficult to get positioned correctly and quickly enough that it has worked for us long term. In terms of a forward facing carrier I have found that the Infantino Flip was a wonderfully inexpensive option that we love and has worked for us beautifully. This is probably the easiest carrier for my husband as well as it is much less bulky than a lot of the more expensive carriers.

Baby Activity Center/Playgym – We are obsessed with our Skip Hop 3-Stage Activity Center. It has worked for us since the babies were barely holding themselves upright and they still love it today. The toys keep them very engaged for very long periods of time, and

All The Feeding Things 

Kid Things

 

1. Formula – There is nothing more gut wrenching than desperately attempting to breast feed and struggling with supply issues. After 4 months of power pumping and downing myself in Fenugreek and Mothers Milk tea, I finally called it quits and started my journey to find a formula I could feel good about feeding my angels. It was very important to me that the formula was organic and without a bunch of factory manufactured ingredients and/or corn syrup solids. One of my littles ended up with serious gas issues, so after many different trials and tribulations we ended up having to feed each of them different formulas (which just goes to show each baby’s digestive system is simply different). Maddy absolutely loves her Earth’s Best Sensitivity Infant Formula – it never constipates her, she has virtually zero gas issues, and she absolutely loves the taste.  Aveline struggled with that formula as it often left her stomach in knots and with terrible gas pains. We found that the Baby’s Only Organic Lactorelief was a game changer for her almost overnight (goodbye gas drops and tummy massages). Baby’s Only markets all of their formulas as Toddler Formulas due but it has all of the nutritional components of infant formula and is perfectly healthy to feed to a baby. She was a much happier and content baby once her tummy stopped hurting so much and this was a much preferred option for me versus Soy formula or Nutramigen formula (which is basically a science experiment). At the end of the day each baby responds to each formula completely differently and you have to choose what is right for you and your babes. Looking back I am confident in my decision to formula feed when I did now that the babies are so healthy and happy (they have only had ONE cold/sickness in almost 8 months, have zero allergies, and are developmentally well above average) and so to all the mom’s with the “momguilt” over formula feeding, let me just say – it really ain’t no thang. Let that guilt go and find something that works for your wee one.

2. Bottles & Bottle Cleaners 

Because we had gassy babies when we were still figuring out the right formula, and because we were both supplementing with formula and breastfeeding, we found that the Dr. Brown’s Wide Neck bottles were the perfect fit for the babies. The venting system helps with swallowing bubbles which cause gas, and the wide neck nipple mimic the mother’s breast shape and prevent nipple confusion. We absolutely love these bottles. When it is time to clean the bottles we just love the Dapple natural baby bottle and dish cleaner. It’s plant based and free of all the scary chemicals in so many dish soaps. We have also used the Dr. Brown’s Bottle Sterilizer to sterilize “all the things” since birth – bottles, toys, pacifiers, feeders – it is the perfect contraption to keep your baby items germ free without any muss or fuss (as a side note we HATED the Dr. Browns Bottle Warmer)

3. Bottle “Maker” 

I have a love hate relationship with the Baby Breeza. In some ways, it was a complete life saver and when the babies still wanted their bottles at the perfect warm temperature, there is no better way to ensure that babies get that perfectly warmed baby bottle time after time (we tried every other bottle warmer and got burned and iced bottles depending on the use). With that said, the formula dispenser did not always measure out the formula with complete accurate consistency, and the cleaning of the parts is a real pain in terms of avoiding mold in the parts. After a few months of using the Breeza in its full capacity, we started leaving the formula dispenser empty and simply utilizing it as a baby water warmer (and hand mixing the formula still). It had quite a few quirks and errors over time, but in those first few months, with all our midnight feedings it was truly a lifesaver.

4. Cereal 

When we went to solids, we began with veggies (avocado, butternut squash, etc.) instead of cereal, but now that the babies are above 6 months old, we LOVE mixing cereals with our baby purees. We chose not to use rice cereal and incorporated quinoa cereal and organic oatmeal cereal into our pear, apple, and squash purees.

5. Homemade Baby Food 

We try to make our own baby food as much as possible. There’s no better tool in the entire world to help with this than the Vitamix Blender. Add a little water to whatever food you steam and blend away and then put the blend into ice cube trays, freeze and empty into plastic bags and wala – instant single serve baby foods. Some of the other tools that help us with this process are the glass ball jars (we purchased ours at target) and the plastic reusable lids. The glass freezes and defrosts perfectly, and they are a perfect size for feedings (not to mention very reasonably priced). When smashing foods (instead of purees) in thick foods like bananas or avocados we use the Munchkin Go Mash Food Masher. Just recently we started giving the babies entire chunks of fruit and veggies (think plums, apricots, etc.) inside of these Fresh Food Nibblers by Ashtonbee. These nibblers are free of all the nasty chemical in so many of their competitors which is so important since the babies are actually gnawing on the plastic itself. This is also an amazing soother for teething.

All The Mom Things (Local STL Post)

Let’s keep it real. Mom matters too – and it’s so hard to take care of yourself when you are caring for young babies. I have decided to include a few of my favorite things that I have indulged in for self care to make me feel like a person or keep me feeling beautiful or centered. Most of these recommendations will be located in St. Louis.

1.Meal Delivery Service – I’ve recently tried the one’s where you cook your meals at home and they deliver all the ingredients and honestly I simply haven’t had time to cook most of what was delivered. I have found that buying pre-made meals that are already prepared, like Fit Flavors and Metabolic Meals have been life savers in the times that I am completely fried and at least I know that I am eating something other than complete and utter junk

2. Acupuncture and Chiropractic – Hands down the greatest thing I have ever done for myself physically has been to see a good Chiropractor who specializes in acupuncture and wellness. Dr. Stephanie Sanger at Clayton Wellness has truly changed my life. Carrying twins creates a great imbalance in your body and any time I find myself energetically depleted, I can go see her and feel myself rebalance and feel completely grounded once again.

3. A Blowout – Lets be honest, most of the time when you are caring for new babies, you barely have time to shower, much less blow out your hair. A great friend gifted me with a gift card to Breeze Blow Dry Bar and Kellen Lincoln is a magical hair ninja who will make you feel like a super model for a day.

4. Eyelash Extensions – Most days I barely put makeup on my face, which is why Suzanna Davis at Suzanna’s Lash loft is the goddess of all things beauty. She offers lash extensions, facials, and other beautification services, and I leave each time feeling like an entire new person. Eyelash extensions are such a wonderful indulgence that will leave you feeling completely put together even without showering.

5. Botox –  I was afraid of Botox my entire life. After the babies I’ve been so tired of looking tired that I decided to finally give in and give Botox a try. Nothing has been easier or more effective in changing the way I feel about my face. As someone who is terrified of anything that isn’t natural and organic I have always been a huge skeptic of putting Botulism in your face, but I have to be honest, seeing myself without those huge 11’s in my forehead makes me feel younger and more confident and I wish I would have done it earlier. The best Botox in the city is Dr. Kandula – she is an absolutely incredible dermatologist.

6. Spray Tan’s – As a pink skinned Irish Woman – there is nothing more gratifying than a good spray tan. I refuse to let sun near by skin, but a warm tan glow does wonders to your overweight postpartum body. I have tried them all, and I can attest that nothing compares to a custom spray Norvell spray tan at Bronze Tan.

7. Hair Extensions – I am lucky that I have full and long hair, but post baby you can deal with hair thinning and loss, and extension are a great way to get you back to the locks you loved so much. The stylists at Christina White Hair Salon are the masters of hair extension and can transform your locks in just a few hours.

8. Nails – Let’s get real, most gals don’t have time for regular manicures, which is why the gel dip nails are so amazing because they last forever and need zero upkeep. AV Nails in Frontenac is the best in the business. It’s clean, the staff is friendly and you will have nails that last for weeks.

All The Cleaning Things

When I was going through infertility struggles, I decided to eliminate all the chemicals from my home in all my personal products and cleaning products. Some of my friends have asked what I used and I so I have included it in this list as well.

Cleaning.jpg

Detergent: Meyers Clean Day

Dishwasher: Whole Foods 365 Detergent Packs

Multi Surface Cleaner: Meyer’s Clean Day

Dish Soap: (Non Dishwasher): Seventh Generation  

Disinfecting Wipes: Seventh Generation

Floor Cleaner: Method

Bathroom Cleaner: Method

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